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and various other processes, both ancient and modern. Of the influence of the former, I have recently possessed myself of some unquestioned facts, from a disinterested and most excellent experimenter, which are full of wonders; which evince a most astonishing, though hidden, influence exerted over the bodily functions by means of these processes; and which throw an air of credibility and truth over the statements of many of the disciples of Mesmer, which I had hitherto considered as exaggerated or sophisticated, because I had not the means of judging the qualifications of the witnesses. To this present witness, however, no doubt can attach; he brought an unsophisticated mind to the inquiry; he is a man of education, sound judgment, and deep piety. Twenty years have elapsed since the experiments were made, and yet in the coolness of judgment with which we are accustomed to review events long since past, he reverts to these facts as most extraordinary, and gave them to me as materials for thought. My own recent observations on the wonderful influence of mind upon mind, when brought into what might be termed magnetic contact, and under certain peculiarly excitable states of the nervous system, come in support of these experiments; and induce me to conclude that the cures effected by animal magnetism, proceed upon the same principle of excitement of that system in a very peculiar manner; and that the manner in which the animal system is sent back upon itself, and the knowledge it displays of its own present interior actions, both healthy and morbid, and of their future consequences, is most extraordinary, and must be placed among the hitherto unexplored arcana of our frame, so fearfully and wonderfully made.
The cures accomplished a few years since, by an individual of
the name of Hogan, a seventh son of a seventh son, must be placed in the same class; and they terminated as soon as the temporary excitement had been allowed to run itself out without opposition. Such was, at one time, the influence of this man, and such the influx of patients during his residence in the Isle of Wight, that it became necessary to appoint a committee of gentlemen to regulate their admission to this man of extraordinary power, whose cures were effected by a secret virtue residing in the palm of his hand, and in some obstinate instances, which resisted the impression of this super-human tact, by a sovereign panacea-even the application of a universal elixir.
Such also is the infinite credulity, the folly and fanaticism, which have given reputation to a recent pretender, who goes further than other Thaumaturgists have gone before him, because he not only professes to cure diseases by one sovereign remedy, but also to prevent, by its employment, the morbid tendencies of the constitution and the consequent occurrence of future disease. In all these instances the acting principle is the same; the agitating influence of belief, carried up to its highest degree of tension, if not in the experimenter, yet in those submitted to experiment, thus acquiring a predominant power over the nervous system, and, through it, upon all the other functions of body and mind; that is, upon all those functions which depend for their continuance upon the integrity of that system. In all, it seems necessary that the really operative cause should not be known, and that it should be invested with the quality of supernatural, Nevertheless, in the cases of sympathetic and magnetic cures, there seems necessary an entire incapacity of judging of natural processes, and also the employment of some magnetic forms. The ideas of the
goodness of God, of faith in him, of humble confidence in his power, and willingness to save; of purity of mind, of tranquillity of the heart, and of entire dependence upon him, do not enter into the calculation. But the operations of Prince Hohenlohe were without mysticism, simple, open to observation, and resting on a certain effect to be produced upon the brain and nervous system, through the influence of religious feeling; and so far they are to be distinguished from the secret remedies of various pretenders, who operate for private emolument. Upon the same principle, such cures as that which has more particularly led to this discussion, are to be spoken of with tenderness and respect, and towards the individuals themselves, one only feeling should be entertained, that of Christian love; and yet these processes all possess one property in common—namely, that of producing their bodily effect through the medium of an exalted and excited state of the brain and nervous system, that is, through the agency of mind upon matter.
I shall proceed to inquire into the general amount of ultimate good produced upon patients, through the influence of Prince Hohenlohe. It is certain that a very considerable effect was wrought upon many individuals; but it is equally certain that this effect was greatly exaggerated through the agency of party spirit -of an excited imagination-and above all, on the part of the sick, by a dislike to acknowledge that they had not faith to be healed, or, in other words, to exhibit themselves as objects of the Divine vengeance. In general, the effect was palliative only, diminishing pain, or relieving it wholly, to return after a longer or shorter interval, with its former intensity, when the influence of excitement had subsided; and it was curative only in those happy instances
in which nature, or antecedent treatment, had effected a cure, and excitement alone was required to give full energy to the restored, but weakened organs; or where the malady had fixed its hold upon the nervous system, and some new and powerful impression was necessary to supersede its morbid habit or tendency. In both these instances, which indeed may more properly be called one, nervous excitation was alone required; and this was employed through the channel above all others most admirably calculated to produce a deep and abiding impression, even that of religious emotion.
It is very important in this examination to keep in view the distinction between palliative and curative treatment : the latter puts an end to disease, and restores the patient to perfect health; the former, where organic changes have taken place to such an extent that they can no longer be overtaken by treatment, consists in allaying irritation, diminishing pain, enfeebling sympathetic phenomena, taking care of the general health, attending to the functional derangement of other organs, which are disturbed in consequence of the structural alterations which are going on in the principally suffering organ, arresting, as far as possible, the progress of these changes, and thereby diminishing the danger to the general system, which is commonly, if not uniformly destroyed, by the giving way of one organ in the first instance; that organ occasioning general death, by it own complete failure of function. failure of function. These organic changes are cases upon which the cure by excitement will not operate a perfect restoration; but even here, they may be relieved for a time, and the morbid action may be controuled in the rapidity of its progress, or it may be checked in its destructive tendency, or it may be suspended altogether.
Another very important distinc
tion, is between being really ill, and feeling ill. Many a patient is extremely ill without feeling so; so that it is very difficult to induce him to pay the necessary attention to himself; and, on the contrary, many patients without disease experience those miserable sensations that they believe themselves ill, and seek a remedy. That remedy is too generally found by themselves, in alcoholic fluids; or in the still more wretched alternative, opium; or in taking medicine. In all these processes, (of which the last is far the more innocent, because an honest medical man will take care so to apportion his remedies to body and mind at the same time, that he will occasion no constitutional mischief,) excitement forms the genuine character of the remedy, however diversified the mode of its application; that excitement always operating a powerful impression upon the brain and nervous system.
Nothing can be more deceptive than listening to the feelings of patients. These ought unquestionably to be considered as oftentimes expressive of disease, but the judgment should never be governed by them: on the contrary, the only certain guide to the knowledge of really morbid states consists in the knowledge of those changes which result to the system, under its peculiar and established laws, from any interference with the regularity of their influence; or in those automatic expressions of suffering, which will not be sophisticated, because they are removed from the agency of volition.
The reputation of Prince Hohenlohe was based upon the firm est foundation, because it rested on the most powerful excitements to the nervous system,-even religious feelings, emotions, and sentiments. But in general the effect subsided with the emotions of the day, and the patient returned in a short time to his former state.
I had intended to have made in
this place a selection of cases, and to have entered into a critical examination of their respective merits, but I find that I should occupy too large a portion of your miscellany; and perhaps, after all, it would be Isaid that the selection had been invidious, and only chosen to suit my own views of the subject. I shall therefore content myself with asserting, that there does not appear on record one modern case of permanent cure of organic structural alteration; and I have allowed the existence of many such, where the nervous system was predominantly concerned. As, however, private report has brought to my knowledge a recent alleged miraculous cure of cancer, I will just mention, that this also appears to have been within the domain of the Prince's gift of healing. It may, however, be safely affirmed, that genuine cases of this kind, where a malignant action had been established, were only palliated, not cured; and where cure has been effected, the disease was not cancerous. is not every hard tumour which possesses a malignant disposition; on the contrary, many are within reach of the function of absorption; and this function may be materially quickened, or even roused into permanent action, by excitement of the nervous system generally, and still further of the individual nerves of the part. But when the primary deposition shall have become organized, and shall have taken on a malignant action, no power of absorption will restore it to health; no excitement of the nervous system will ever again reestablish healthy function. The limits of these functions must always be kept in view, before we can determine on methods of cure.
Again: in all these instances the influence of enthusiasm is not to be forgotten. To elucidate this influence, let me recur for one moment to the scenes produced by the miracles of Prince Hohenlohe; to the number of patients
collected together, many of them stretched on couches, which had been their inseparable companions for years, and to which (abandoned, most shamefully abandoned) by medicine, they considered themselves as confined in hopeless misery to the termination of their suffering existence. And when these very individuals were shortly afterwards seen walking, glorifying God, full of gratitude to the Prince as the dispenser of His bounty, excited almost beyond themselves with joy and hope and confidence; and when the influence of surrounding multitudes, gathered together for the purpose of witnessing these miracles, and almost equally beyond themselves in enthusiastic admiration, is duly appreciated; it must be confessed, that an excitement of the mind most favourable to succeeding attempts at miraculous cure must have been produced. The few who withheld their judgment; who sought to inquire into facts and circumstances; who wished to ascertain if the cure had been real, and still more if it would be permanent; would have a certain stigma cast upon them, as hard to be convinced, and unbelieving, requiring more evidence than the nature of the case would admit, though in reality not more than the proof of miracle would require. There might be some bolder spirits, who would openly venture into the field, and would try to stem the torrent of that enthusiasm, and of that belief, which assumed the shape of religious zeal and holy credence; but the mass of the devout would eagerly seize every report, and would give currency to the most distorted statements, proofs that the goodness of God had restored to his church and to his servants the power of working miracles, in order to awaken the slumbering Christian, and to reanimate the fervour of religious credence with its ancient brilliance and intensity.
Now, if all these circumstances should have the effect of awaking the attention of professional men to the influence of mind upon body; and to convince them, that, in the treatment of disease, it is not less necessary to act upon the mind by moral means, than upon the body through the agency of medicine; and if, moreover, they would feel the responsibility involved by such a trust, and would be desirous of consecrating it to the service of true religion, then indeed would great good arise from the investigation.
It has been objected to the Parable of the Lord of the Vineyard, that the conduct of the householder offends against our instinctive sense of justice; that the labourer who worked the whole day might naturally feel discontented that he had only the same reward as the one who worked an hour; and that, though legally speaking a man has a right to do what he will with his own, yet morally speaking he has not; for that an arbitrary distribution of property, a distribution without reference to the respective claims of the parties, is virtual injustice, and would be felt to be so in any actual case which might occur-as, for example, a father capriciously giving all his property to his second or third child, and leaving the rest destitute, their claims being equal.
To this it is replied, either, first, that the narrative is only parabolic, and that therefore we are not to press every minute feature; or, secondly, that there might be good reasons for the proceeding-such as the necessity of the labourers last hired, thus resolving the case into
charity; or their great diligence and good conduct during the short time they were employed, thus resolving it into a claim of merit ;or, thirdly, that no difficulty really exists, for that the alleged instinctive feeling of injustice is only factitious, and that the employer was no more morally than legally accountable for his conduct.
To the first of these solutions it is rejoined, that the circumstance alluded to is not a mere casual incident, but the very gist of the narrative; so that its being a parable does not render an explanation of so material a point unnecessary. To the second it is replied, that, though a plea of want, or a claim of merit, would amply justify the householder, it would contravene the express object of the parable, which was to make the conduct of the householder depend, not upon the services or necessities of the claimants, but upon his own volition: he had a right to do what he would with his own. In reference to the third solution it is argued, that it is in vain to reason against those instincts of our nature which God has implanted in us; that every child who reads the parable feels, till he learns the solution, his moral sense offended, and wishes that the householder had given a reason for his conduct, in order that the complainants might have seen that he did not act capriciously.
Of these solutions, the second, notwithstanding the objection, is simple and solid-namely, that the householder had good reasons for his conduct. What those reasons were does not appear; the only point necessary to the argument being to shew that he was not bound to produce them. Legally, he might act without either reason or explanation; morally, he could not act without reason, but, under certain circumstances, he might without explanation: as, for instance, if the complainants assumed an undue attitude towards
him, or violated justice by requiring an account of his actions, which, even where it might be right for him to give it, they would not be entitled to demand. The objections proceed upon the supposition that the householder acted capriciously, or without any better reason than his mere will; but the real point of the narrative is, not that he had not a good reason, but that he was not obliged to explain his reason to insolent complainants. To have yielded to their clamour would have been a virtual acknowledgment of their right to intefere with his actions; and that right he was not obliged to concede. A man is bound to do what he believes to be right and just; to explain his motives may or may not be proper. If they are likely to be misconstrued, so as to prove a stumbling-block to his neighbour, and to cast an apparently just reproach upon his character, to withhold an explanation would often be an immoral act; but not always, for there may be stronger reasons why he should allow himself to be misunderstood, than that he should disclose all he knows. God himself deals thus with us: all he does is right, and he often condescends to tell us his reasons for his conduct; but he is not bound in any case to do so it is enough for us to know that the Judge of all the earth will do right. And this the parable supposes on the part of the householder: it does not intimate caprice, but only that he had wise reasons for not telling the reasons on which he had acted. This statement would assuredly satisfy the alleged" moral sense of the most captious objector; for even a little child may understand, that, though it seems hard upon the first workmen to have no more than the others, there might be sufficient motives for the householder's conduct, but that he was not bound to tell them to the repining claimants; and that even had they not thus complained, there might still be